DPWH marks 122nd anniversary on June 23

The 122nd Founding Anniversary of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) on Tuesday, June 23, 2020 is dedicated towards government’s effort in fighting COVID-19. 

Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark A. Villar said that traditional anniversary fanfare programs will be set aside due to the prevailing threat of the coronavirus disease. 

This is in consonance with the health and safety protocols prescribed by the National Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) under the general community quarantine (GCQ), which prohibit, among others, mass gatherings.

“We hope to have a simple and solemn celebration, honoring our frontline workers who are the real-life heroes of this pandemic”, said Secretary Villar.

Secretary Villar noted that among the frontliners are DPWH personnel and officials who never failed to showcase the time-honored culture of compassion and “Bayanihan” working hand in hand with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) and the private sector in the conversion of public buildings as additional health and quarantine facilities to prepare for any surge in COVID-19 cases. 

DPWH also opted to put less flair on the yearly celebration to focus on other on-going COVID response activities and the resumption of various flagship infrastructure projects following months-long hiatus in construction activities brought by the movement restrictions during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) across the country.

With the easing of restrictions on the construction sector, DPWH is ramping up the implementation of public infrastructure projects as long as complying with minimum safety standards with the intention to catch up with the unintended delays as infrastructure is touted to play a key role in economic recovery. 

Guidelines on basic hygiene, workplace sanitation, and social distancing measures for employees and visitors are also implemented at DPWH offices to make workplace safe and possibly mitigate and suppress transmission of virus such as mandatory wearing of facemask,  temperature checking, disinfection of hands, limited face to face interaction, and among others. 

While temporary ban on all construction activities was in effect during the ECQ, DPWH spearheaded the planning and preparation for the repurposing of large scale public buildings including Regional Evacuation Centers, to be used as overflow isolation sites to address hospital shortage.

The agency has also helped fight disease-causing virus through sanitation and disinfection programs of Regional and District Engineering Offices on vehicles traversing national highways and convergence areas composed of checkpoints, government facilities, churches, schools, markets, hospitals, medical facilities and other public areas.

To help the health workers and other service frontliners perform their duties, day-in, day-out, DPWH extended humble support with available transportation services while other frontline agencies with insufficient equipment and manpower were assisted in transporting much needed supplies to ensure that their operations remain free from logistics problems.

Moreover, on-going construction of ‘We Heal As One’ Off-Site Dormitories are being fast-tracked solely for use by doctors, nurses and other medical professionals who have worked devotedly in the fight against coronavirus and need space to rest between shifts. 

A team of DPWH construction workers and electricians were also sent to reinforced UP-Philippine General Hospital  in-house laborers in the preparation of four (4) COVID-19 wards. 

DPWH also assisted in the installation of patient monitoring system at the Lung Center of the Philippines COVID ward. The sensitive job of installing cardiac monitors and closed-circuit television (CCTV) video surveillance was done quickly with volunteers from private contractor offering free labor service.   

Various health commodities such as face masks donated by stakeholders were distributed to major hospitals while others were provided to DPWH personnel for protection from virus infection. Manufactured portable swabbing booths were also donated to hospitals in Quezon City and Pampanga to help minimize the risk of health workers’ exposure when taking swab samples. 

“During this pandemic, we have worked tirelessly with government agencies and the private sector to help our government in this battle vs COVID-19 hence I am proud to be part of this Department manned by people who take public service seriously. May we continue to serve the Filipino people in the years to come,” added Secretary Villar.

Indeed, being responsive is the deeper meaning of DPWH 122nd anniversary that will mark in the hearts of every Filipino people.

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